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Science News

Japan before & after: Aerial photos reveal the devastation

13.03.2011, Age: 3880 days

New York Times and Australian ABC News published an interactive map and aerial photos to show the extent of the devastation caused by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami around Honshu.

The internet plays a unique and crucial role in saving people's lives, or at least relieving their misery. Immediately after the disaster, Google set up its Person Finder service. Twitter and Facebook largely replace email and telephone in rapidly distributing news and sending alerts about tsunami, landslide and other hazards. Most government agencies today use internet-based tools to rapidly inform the public about imminent dangers. This may challenge scientists to use these tools to effectively communicate their science and serve the communities living in danger areas. Amidst the tragedy this may be a comfort.

See here how the sophisticated Japanese system of Earthquake Early Warnings works. "When the first seismometers in the country pick up the high-amplitude waves from this quake and determine its epicenter, an electronic signal is broadcast instantaneously, far in advance of the much slower seismic waves. This person has at least 30 seconds warning before the brunt of the shaking arrives." (Trembling Earth blog)

Two well-done interactive websites may serve as an inspiration:

ABC News interactive photos: Hover over each satellite photo to view the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami.

New York Times interactive map and photographs of places in Japan that were damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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